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Ask Slashdot: Audio/Video Networking Solutions for Linux?

Cliff posted more than 15 years ago | from the isn't-this-cool? dept.

Linux 57

Brad Andrews asks: "I recently finished building a new house, and networked it to provide central control over ambient audio levels and possible distributed video. I'm curious whether anyone has heard of a linux-based solution for central video and audio service, with a focus on MP3 and DVD, that I could combine with TV out ports and AC-3 decoders so I can watch the same movie from anywhere in the home. I'd prefer an x86 architecture, but if there is a complete integrated solution on another platform (StrongARM?) I would be interested in that as well. "

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DVD yay!!!! divix BOOOO!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014474)

Thank god you said DVD and not DIVIX, sorry cant help, but just wanted to comment because divix is evil and it must be stopped.!!

Try here.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014475)

you might want to try www.mpeg.org ,
they have some mpeg decoders... free of course. There is also the free software called MpegTV at http://www.mpegtv.com/.... give it a shot.. hope it's of help.....
let me know at data1@rocketmail.com

By the way... i pray divix dies a painfull death!!!!!

DVD yay!!!! divix BOOOO!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014476)

it's kinda like payperview except you have a wider selection of movies

Audio network device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014477)

A basic non-MP3 player should be cheap enough to make.

Not if you want it to have a 100mbit ethernet jack and talk full TCP/IP! Bits and pieces of a Netwinder are what you want there: a StrongARM, a DEC Tulip, maybe 4MB RAM, 1 MB of flash, and no hard disk. And use the Netwinder motherboard. Not that you can get it without the whole (overpriced) Netwinder itself.

dewd! linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014478)

check out www.be.com! this is the kinda thing they're into! linux can barely play quicktimes...;^)

It has been done... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014479)

... but if you have to ask how much, you can't afford it. See this [qscaudio.com] if you want the details. Stereo schmereo -- gimme 16 channels, baybee!

DVD yay!!!! divix BOOOO!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014480)

How exactly does Divx work?

You buy a DivX disk for about $5. You get to play it as many times as you want, up to 48 hours, at which point the disk is dead. You can buy extra 24-hour blocks for about $3 each, or you can pay some amount ($25?) to get unlimited viewing, but only on your own player. (Note that that cost matches or exceeds the cost of just buying a real DVD, which you can then view anywhere.)

The encryption is 112-bit 3DES. The player has a modem and calls DivX central to report your viewing habits and tell them what to bill you for. If it can't call DivX central for some number of days, the player refuses to play new movies.

Consumer advantages: none?

Consumer disadvantages: the cost is higher, you cannot view "unlimited" movies on other people's players, DivX has none of DVD's extra features (letterbox, extra soundtracks, etc.), your movie habits are monitored by Circuit City, you cannot view your movie collection if DivX goes out of business, etc, etc.

USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014481)

USB is limited to a few meters and doesn't have the required bandwidth for video.

This one's simple AND cheap: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014482)

Do the actual audio data & video data distributioin in analog. Splitters, line amps, and signal standards are all available for pretty inexpensively these days. Even mixers are pretty cheap, enabling you not only to get the output anywhere, but to provide input from anywhere too.

By the way, if you must do it all digitally, there are already network-transparent display and audio servers (X for display, Esound for audio) but the drawback there is that you have to do the video decoding in software in order to be able to send it through the x server without dumping straight into the video hardware. This is subject to frame dropouts and color downsampling, so you'd probably get better video signal by using analog splitters.

MpegTV can stream MPEG video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014483)

The MpegTV Player (mtv) [mpegtv.com] is capable of streaming MPEG Video (with audio) from pipe, http, ftp, raw TCP and raw UDP.

For example, mtv can play video streamed from a Sun Media Center server (raw UDP).

More streaming protocols can be handled by adding Stream Input Handler (SIH) plugins. This technology is available through the MpegTV SDK [mpegtv.com] . Free development licenses are available. The SDK is available for Linux, Solaris and other Unix systems. It includes run-time MPEG video libraries and sample source code of applications.

-- MpegTV

Check this out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014484)

I stumbled upon this client/server implementation recently. Haven't tested it out, but judging from the page it should do very well over ethernet..

This is what you want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014485)

Just a small teaser.

A home "entertainment" distribution techniches has been used by B&O for ages. Problem is
1) It looks way to good
2) Is so darn f... expensive

If you ever find a cool solution/implementation please post a article/paper title "How I multimediatized my home"

Video Server 0.5.4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014486)

Check out Video Server 0.5.4 [freshmeat.net] on Freshmeat.Net:

Stony Brook Video Server is the distributed video server application that provides indexing, searching and video streaming in a convenient way to clients over the network. The client may browse the complete list of movies, search closed captions and play selected video from the beginning or from the point matching search query.

Re: What is the question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014487)

I don't really understand what the question is. If the server is Unix based and the client is too then it is a simple matter of opening a TCP/IP socket and feeding it with the correct data. Or alternatively just mount via NFS/SMBFS the server partition. If the client isn't powerful enough, do the decompression on the server and send raw data via TCP/IP (won't work well for video, I guess, unless you have 100 Mbps and a decent network interface on the client). Alternatively do half of the decompression on the server and on the client (but this is too complex).

A quick way to do this is to hack mpeg_play, xanim, or mpg123 to accept input from stdin when they don't do this, and have a buffering network pipe process (a modified ttcp). This shouldn't be long to code.

USB? Not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014488)

USB + Firewire is better than what we have now,
but IP everywhere as the endpoint makes more

We can drive ethernet at 1Gig now, we can have IP on a chip for next to nothing if there were enough devices that used it. I dont even want to have internal buses, whatever it is (CPU, Disk, CD's, Speakers, Monitors, Printers, scanners, camera's, soundcards! [better give them a different name though], videocards, Microwaves, fridges, lights, toasters, keyboards, mice, microphones) you get the idea. (I admit that it is still a good idea to have the CPU and memory in the same box, but then perhaps they should be on the same chip anyway)

Plug it into the network and then talk a standard open (preferably IETF) protocol to it, Why do you want to plug things into the computer? This guy is asking the right question, your just towing the line.

client server is wrong philosophy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014489)

the original post does not indicate our price point for this exercise, but rest assured that all the ideas posted so far will be expensive.

the client server idea is wrong for this application. we need a video mainframe (tm)

why you ask, when ip mulicasted video would work?

multiple reasons.

1. this requires every remote location to have a full fledged computer to do the d/a conversion.

2. this requires a great deal more space, power consumption and hardware cost.

3. this prevents locations (like stairwells and bathrooms) that might only want audio from having it, cause they need room for a full-sized pc to do the localized display.

i see it more like this- you have lights in every room, but you want local control, so you have a switch in every room, not a gasoline generator.

having a high power pc or nc at every location is just like having a generator there.

so- how about the mainframe idea?

1. dumb terminals at the remotes (a tv, wall mounted loud speakers, and an on-screen display unit with ir remote/kbd) this stuff is cheap, common, and standards based. the dvd's you want to watch originally were formatted for the wide screen, not the tv, but that should not be an issue (you know letterbox). each station would have 4 connections: video analog, left+right audio analog (more if needed for dolby) and a digital control (serial or ethernet)

some guys over at olivetti are working on an ir badge system which uses a linux machine (pc104) connected to a detector array and connected to a big NT server to record the movements of individuals wearing the badges as they move through the building. the little linux boxes they built are not very powerful, but would work great as a start for a set-top box, if you needed some horses at the client.

ok- another idea while i am thinking:

screw the localized computing power all togther.
do voice recognition back to the server. have it respond to your commands via audio. then, all you have in each room is a tv and speakers and mic.

in your server room you have a nice pile o stuff though :-)


MpegTV can stream MPEG video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014490)

There is NO DVD software player for Linux today.

Realtime MP3 encoder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014491)

There is a realtime MP3 encoder out there, too. Two channel in and ethernet and serial out. It even talks HTTP. I happen to have one sitting on my desk, as I am testing it for a radio station I work at. Check out http://www.audioactive.com and then click on the hardware encoder link.

BTW, you wouldn't want to pay for this one either, it is almost $2500.

SORRY. No DVD support for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014492)

Don't look for it.
It's not there.
It won't be ready for another year.

Use NT if you must

(flame on, assholes)

Digital expensive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014493)

ONly decode from digital to analog once. Then use a series of relays or solid state switches connected to your parallel port to switch where the video and audio will go.

The computer can also control your components.
Connect your DVD player sound output to your mixer/tuner. Also connect your CD player and computer audio out to your mixer/tuner. Get an IR module to connect to the serial port. Control these devices with the IR module like a universal remote. Then pick which outputs to listen and watch to with the mixer/tuner. Then direct the sound and video to where it needs to go with the switches on the parallel port.

You can also have your dolby decoder somewhere in the chain.

A little hint for the parallel switches, have each pin be a different room. Set pin #1 high to send to the living room and pin #2 high to send to the bedroom. Simple.

Re: What is the question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014494)

Well, you don't open a socket. You just broadcast UDP packets all over the place.

Ok, UDP broadcast is the solution when broadcasting 24 hours/24 TV and radio. But even though the TCP/IP socket connections require to be initiated (by pushing on a button), the advantage is that there is no packet loss (at the expense of delays in repetitions, which should be accomodated by buffering on the client). So it is trivial to modify programs. In contrast, if you loose one UDP packet when feeding a superficially modified mpeg_play, chances are that it would crash.

for a starting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014495)

I would want a simple device (based on
linux perhaps) which would do simple digital to
analog processing and which I can connect to
my home stereo.
And then a sounddriver for the various os's
(yes, windows too) which would just pipe the
digital sound data via my 100mbit ethernet to
this device.
Does anybody know if something like this exists?
I think the generic place to produce analog
sound (and video, later on) should be my stereo.

client server is wrong philosophy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014496)

yeah- i like your style, but perhaps the new soulfly album (check that stuff out) or some OLDER portishead

i did not want to step up to the mic when i suggested it though. i think it should be a little more like:

me: "dongle" (the machines name)
dongle: "ready"
me: "music"
dongle: "ready"
me: "mix"
me: "lulaby"


you would have to work out the interface just as if it was a keypad and screen. i think the best would be to address the computer and tell it a reg exp. to search thru your mp3 dir :-) better still, a scripting language. better still, address the machine and give it a plain english/i18n sentence.

"booch, play some sepultura"


How smart can they be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014497)

They are using an NT web server.

Shoutcast for audio, dunno about video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014498)

Check out httP://www.shoutcast.com/ . They make a streaming mp3 server, and they've got a linux version of the server. You do need winamp, for the sound, but I believe I read somewhere that x11amp does/will soon support Winamp plugins. If so, there's your audio - at 128kps mpeg1-layer3 encoding.

You seem to forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014499)

All DIVX players can also play all DVD. You get both players in the same box. BTW, just how many times are you going to watch the same movie? For the price of a tape rental you get DVD quality viewing, and the option to watch it again without having to visit the rental store. If you don't want to "rent" DIVX movies, don't. But it's still nice to have the option.


client server is wrong philosophy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014500)

Speaking of voice recognition.. Has anyone seen any recognition apps/engines for linux?

BeOS is Multimedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014501)

I would agree, as a Linux user, that BeOS is more multimedia based than Linux is. Linux is more server and workstation based.

Too Late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014502)

Better go buy some Circuit City stock. The inside scoop is they're selling over 10 times the number of players originally anticipated by their internal sales projections. Those numbers have not been officially released and the 'street' will surely be stunned when they are.

Let's face it, the public buys what they want, independent of technical merit.

Legacy Analog in Digital Consumer Electronics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014503)

How big will the market be for hardware manufacturers selling digital video consumer electronics with legacy analog inputs and outputs?

My guess is that this could be a very big market. Digital video is the next big trend in consumer-electronics, just as digital audio was from the late 1980s onwards. However, people will want to keep their existing material -- family videos, favorite tv recordings etc. My prediction is that if there were sub-$500 consumer products to help people migrate their analog video tapes to digital formats like DV [dvcentral.org] , there would be plenty of buyers, a conservative rate, say, of 2-3% of installed analog base per year. Ready-to-use standalone products rather than PC add-on video capture cards would create the largest market. Both types of product market will grow rapidly as prices for video hardware such as DV, 4:1:1 NTSC and 4:2:2 PAL chipsets drop an order of magnitude in the next two years.

For PC users, there are very few add-on cards which offer both digital and analog video capture, and those that exist are expensive and targeted at professional users, e.g. the range of 601 and DV Master [fastmultimedia.com] products from FAST Electronics [fastmultimedia.com] I am not aware of any combined analog and digital video capture cards with Linux support.

Shoutcast for audio, dunno about video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014504)

Hats off to them for the FreeBSD servers too.. nice to see some people recognise linux isn't the only free unix out there..

All of you missed his point! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014505)

he wants high quality audio and video throughout the house.not watch some crappy little window DVD or some stupid quicktime crap.

You need 1 linux server with a custome hardware adapter that will do the switching for you along with the IR remote control or better yet RF remote. the linux box recieves the remote signals and then shoves out the correct IR code to the device you wish to control and then switches the audio line to the desired location. If you are good with electronics and computers, it'll cost maybe 5000.00 for good stuff. If you want someone else to do it then plan on spending a helluva lot more. dont I repeat DONT even think of shoving the video and audio through the lan, this is a dumb way of doing this have seperate video and audio feeds, this is the way 99% of the smart houses and multimedia homes do this. as for the DVD part, you will have to wait until there are DVD jukeboxes available (Like the 100CD changers) it would suck to run to the living room/media room change the DVD, run back to the hot tub and play the video. check out home automation sites for information.
also be prepared to weight cost versus toys.. having full 5.1 surround sound with 3-4 subwoofers in every room is asenine and expensive, just have an awesome main TV with audio in your media room and have the others passable.

SGI Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014506)

I'v heard that SGI does this sort of thing for the navy on ships with thier Origin Servers. Some sort of a/v main frame thingy.

Audio network device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014507)

I think you could get away with slower 10mbps networking technologies if you utilised multicasting. Multicasting throughout the house would be cool. I want to set up my tv / satelite / cable antennas to go into my computer which will then feed the rest of the house. supplying near video on demand via multicast full screen.

Anyway this is just a dream

USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014508)

>>One USB cable is limited to 5 meters. Not the
entire but (try patching 127 devides together with 5 meters of cable ;)

There is a maximum end-to-end cable length. What I know about the electrical protocol, is that it relies on some pretty strict timing.

DVD yay!!!! divix BOOOO!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014509)

The encryption is 112-bit 3DES. The player has a modem and calls DivX central to report your viewing habits and tell them what to bill you for. If it can't call DivX central for some number of days, the player refuses to play new movies.

Wouldn't it be possible then to spoof their service after you have a valid key? I mean you could build a box that would give out a dial tone and let the divx player connect, and then go through all of the protocol and send a valid key?

1000BT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014510)

I thought Gig-ether was coming out on twisted pair RSN ...

Not that it really matters - Sounds like the the solution the guy really needs is speakerwire.

dewd! linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014511)

Oh shit yeh... playing quicktimes is a REAL HASSLE


Get a clue. This sort of stuff isn't difficult at all, regardless of OS.

If I want a complete multimedia OS, i'll buy a kick-ass stereo/ video. Ooops... already got those

Try to be more helpful next time :)


SORRY. No DVD support for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014512)

Hey, the only asshole I see here is you.

Where did this magical "1 year" time period come from?

Keep hugging that NT box, we'll stick with Linux thanks.

I think Meridian may do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014513)

I know it's not using Linux, but sometime the best tool for the job is not.....no, can't say that, but anyway..

A UK (?) Audio manufacturer called Meridian has all sorts of kit to do this. I believe it's all programmable too - so you may be able to do some sort of Linux interface if you need.

url for a nifty network decompressor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014514)

Admittedly I did not have the time to wade through ppls comments, but there is a nice url dealing with A DSP-based decompressor unit for high-fidelity MPEG-Audio over TCP/IP networks:
http://www.sparta.lu.se/~bjorn/whitney/index.htm #Abstract. I dunno if you can actually BUILD the thing from the copious info given, but it's prolly worth a shot.


Audio network device (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2014515)

I would love to see a networked audio device, something like an AD/DA convertor that you can feed via ethernet. Preferable via IP. If it could play & (realtime) record MP3 audio it would be even better.

The missing link between my stereo system & my network.

Better still, have all audio components receive & transmit their signals over IP.

With modern 100 Mb ethernet you could do a lot that way...

Haven't seen anything like that yet. A basic non-MP3 player should be cheap enough to make. Any hardware hackers around? I could even see some interesting business applications.

dewd! linux? (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014516)

Linux can play Quicktime fine. It's just virtually every other format that it has trouble with (MPEG, AVI, etc., since most of the movies out there use proprietary codecs such as Indeo)

no problem (1)

hazard (2541) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014517)

Considering the amount of money you are going to spend on all your audio/video stuff, I think hiring a Linux hacker to write all the needed software wouldn't hurt your pocket much ;-)

1394 for digital AV distribution (1)

Cave Newt (4091) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014518)

If you really want to distribute digital audio and video streams throughout the house, IEEE-1394 (and HAVi) was designed for it. Support is still pretty sparse even in the consumer-electronics arena, but it's coming. Linux support is farther off still. But at 400-1600 Mbps, it's in the same bandwidth ballpark as Ultra2/Ultra3 SCSI.

Re: What is the question? (1)

dath (5188) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014519)

Just thought that I'd point out that mpg123 already can take audio from stdin... Just specify 'mpg123 -' on the command line and it looks at stdin. This works quite well for Shoutcast audio by the way. This is something worth looking at for home audio since there are so many channels. Just hope you have a fast Internet connect!

Just do it. (1)

Honeylocust (6024) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014520)

People won't be able to unpack a home media network for Linux from a nice .tar file until somebody builds a prototype. It seems like you've got the money, so it's just a question of your time and how much Linux talent you can scavenge.

Mp3: linux support is great and the performance requirements are low enough that you won't need incredible hardware. At home we plug my laptop into our desktop machine, and we stream mp3's over the network with NFS and play them all the time. Even a Pentium/133 class machine, hooked up to a pair of good pair of speakers, could be a good sound system for a room. You could dispense with screen and keyboard and operate the machine entirely from the ethernet. Networking:Don't buy into one of these crazy phone-line or power-line networks. Since you're building the house, have it wired with gigabit-ethernet ready cable with a topology that would enable switched ethernet. You could probably start with 100 Mbit/S unswitched and upgrade in the future if necessary. DVD This is an area where Linux is behind. With MpegTV you can play MPEG streams -- it's a shareware product, but they do maintain it, and you've got a budget, so that's fine. Linux can also talk to DVD drives on the hardware level, but Linux cannot yet read the UDF filesystem which is used on DVDs. Top men are working on it, but there is always some risk when you base future plans on a product which isn't shipping: be it free or commercial. That said, if you've got a budget, a donation of $500 could make a big difference to a free software author and convince him to code in a feature or fig a bug for you.

Chips: The mainstream of Linux is on the x86 and you'll have an easier time with x86 machines since the most software is available for them. The worst things, on the two ends of the market, about the x86 are: (1) it's 32-bit (not 64) and (2) it's a power pig, requiring lots of cooling fans and huge cases. If you can cope with these issues, this is the conservative solution.

If, on the other hand, you want to take a RISC, look at the Alpha architecture on the server end and something based on ARM or MIPS on the client end. These days you could almost certainly find a tiny RISC machine without a cooling fan that could, at the very least, stream MP3's off the net into your stereo.

Overall:Start by wiring the house for ethernet. Set up a server and at least one client and try to set up MP3 service. At this point you can experiment with different architectures. Watch emerging technology for Linux, and there is a good chance that you'll be able to upgrade to the DVD server you want.

Audio network device (1)

MbM (7065) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014521)

I've got an interesting script running on a machine here that allows for control of x11amp via a webpage check it out url is


I'm thinking something like that where you could just go to any computer in the house and dial up some music for the abient speakers would be versy cool. Email me if you want the script.
- MbM

Multicast and MBONE on Linux (1)

[-ET-] (9993) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014522)

I was just compiling my kernel today and I noticed something that I believe would be of interest to you. It's called IP Multicasting and I found the info under Network Options in the make config script. After reading the web page about it, it looks very interesting and worthwhile. Check the page out at http://www.teksouth.com/linux/multicast/. Enjoy! [teksouth.com]

SORRY. Only SOME DVD support for Linux (1)

deathcubek (11766) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014523)

is that most decoder cards don't have drivers
Right, some hardware vendors are being a cry babies (wah!!! you have to sign a NDA wah!!!)

UDF isn't yet supported.
Well, it's getting there [trylinux.com] and is not that important right now

what's exciting is that some DVDs seem to be able to be played [rpi.edu]
Four years in jail
No Trial, No Bail

partial example implementation (1)

cmoss (14324) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014524)

checkout http://www.smarthome.com for some options.

I would stay away from running all the A/V over the LAN. (of course you want all your LINUX boxes networked together though)

Maybe one central box that controls all A/V, Power HVAC etc.

My main system has an X10 interface to control power devices throughout the home. I can dialin, enter a passcode (DTMF), and have my system turn my routers on or off, dialback to ISP etc. The X10 device can also receive and act on wireless motion detectors...

With IR recording and transmitting I can control most consumer devices in the home from my computer. This requires IR distribution throughout the house.

The easiest way to do Video distribution is to modulate your line level video to a unused channel on your cable TV wiring. Then you can simply tune any tv in your house to channel 61 and see your computer screen. :-)

Check out smarthome's website. The may have a computer controlled A/V distribution system, if not I remember one in an old "circuit cellar" article (back in the byte days)

The following software is available: (all free (beer) and open source)

1. vgetty - controls voicemodem to allow a single phone line to take care of ISP connectivity, voicemail, fax with hook for scripting using touch tone decoding

2. heyu - software to drive serial X10 interface for power control. CLI

3. LIRC - linux project for IR remote control, recording and playback of IR commands from existing remotes

Up against the same wall as encryption (1)

GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014525)

The problem with trying to base your home entertainment system on PC hardware and software is a matter of proprietary algorithms. AC-3, DTS, Dolby Pro Logic, THX etc, etc... Motorolla manufactures a DSP for $20 (in bulk) that will detect and DECODE all of these signals and send them to your respective Digital-Analog Converters. In other words, it should be dirt cheap to replace your reviever, DVD, CD, tuner with a PC with the latest from sound blaster. Unfortunately the licensing for these technologies would make a board cost $2000, just like a receiver that will do this stuff. We need to build software and libraries for Linux, etc... that emulates these decoding algorithms in the same manner that SSLeay was built. It's the only way you will be able to make your PC the center of your entertainment center. Please correct anything that is incorrect in here, all my research in the subject is based off of web sites....

Use IP multicast! (1)

Ross Finlayson (17913) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014526)

If your home network is switched Ethernet, it'll support IP multicast. So, you can take advantage of this by multicasting your video and/or audio, and tuning into it whereever in your house (& however many times) you wish.

For example, you can use a program like " liveCaster [live.com] " to multicast your MP3 streams. (There's a Linux version.)

This one's simple AND cheap: YES! (1)

mansaxel (17976) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014527)

This is the preferred way to do it. I've worked on some projects building Outdoor Broadcasting vehicles which are technologically the most crammed spaces you could imagine. Think 10 kilometres of cable in 12 meters of truck....
The audio and video monitoring is almost always set up as a central matrix router feeding analog or digital video and analog audio to the different work positions inside the truck. Control of what goes where is done by custom button panels at each position. The distribution is done at line levels for audio and then levels and mono/stereo are selected at each position. Amplifiers are local, most of the time built into the speakers. If I were to build somethin like this in a house I would definitely have a central matrix controlled by some computer resource, with some audio-follows-video implemented, and audio fed via either AES/EBU digital or balanced 0 dBu analog.
Video would ideally be S-video or component.
Running destructively compressed audio like MP3 where bandwidth is not an issue (ie in a LAN or in an analog situation.) is imho stupid beyond comprehension, mainly because destructive compression sucks snooker balls through 14.4 dialup connections. There are places where you can benefit from it, yes. But not at home.

Audio network device (1)

ophir (17995) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014528)

check out the cajun project;


which has a template for what you are trying
to do.

Clarification (1)

Brad Andrews (18226) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014529)

Ok, it took me a while to get back, but here's the basic idea:

I already cabled the house before the walls were finished. I'm definately putting a full system in each major room (bedrooms, kitchen, living room, etc.) so I'm not looking for a dumb terminal or thin client type solution.

The idea was that, since MP3 and DVD are totally digital, there's no sense trying to pipe analog output around the house on a seperate set of wires, or wasting more space on stereo components in every room, if I could use the network as a sort of distributed entertainment center. I was particularly interested in focusing on the server for input and storage, and the living room box for high-end output. Every other machine would need average capabilities, but only stereo sound output. I have heard that the Diamond MX3000 sound card has hardware AC3 decoding capabilities, and even if it isn't yet supported under Linux I'm looking at the long term.

DVD Solution(?) (1)

Dios (83038) | more than 15 years ago | (#2014530)

Axis provides DVD servers... you could put 5 or 6 DVD drives in a server...

Axis products have been relatively reliable for all of our uses...

http://www.axis.com/products/cd-rom_se rvers/ [axis.com]

is the address
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